To undergo an operation is always a big decision accompanied by many questions. Following, you find some of the most frequently asked questions related to cataract surgery (click on the question to display the answer).
A cataract is when the natural lens in the eye becomes clouded making it difficult to see clearly. This usually happens as a result of age, but in rare cases can occur in childhood or even earlier.
Typically, cataract surgery is advised if the clouding in the lens becomes great enough that it inhibits your ability to function normally in your life. The decision to have surgery to remove the cataract will be made by you, your doctor and often times, your insurance provider.
Every surgery in modern medicine is associated with some risks. However, risks are reduced by the experience level of the surgeon and the use of laser technology. Thousands of people undergo cataract surgery each year making it perhaps the most common surgery in the world.
In most cases, the surgery is performed using a local anesthetic as the procedure is very quick and most individuals and physicians do not find it necessary to use general anesthesia which is both expensive and carries risk. Speak with your doctor about what is right for you and be sure to ask about all main management options.
Certain medications should be stopped a number of days before your surgery. These include blood-thinning medications (aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix and) as well as others. All medications that you currently take need to be discussed with your doctor at your pre-surgical visit.
In general, about three hours are needed for the surgery. This time includes preparation, the actual surgery and the observation and recovery time.
Cataract surgery is very routine and is performed ‘outpatient’ meaning that you will not be allowed to stay at the hospital. Most patients end up returning home about 30 minutes after the procedure.
Yes. Although the procedure is short, your vision will be affected. It is thus strongly recommended that a friend or family member help you get home safely.
Most people do not feel significant pain after the operation. If discomfort is experienced, it can usually be treated with over-the-counter pain medications. Talk to your doctor about options.
The first few days after surgery, a reduction in your ability to see well will occur in the treated eye. If problems persist or you notice something unusual such as darkness or pressure, call your doctor immediately.
In general, you will need to return to your doctor the day after surgery to make sure that everything is OK. After this, patients are often seen every week for three weeks.
Usually about one week.
Feel free to gently wash your face the next day but try to avoid contact with the treated eye. A shower and washing your hair are allowed two days after your treatment. Try to avoid getting soap in the treated eye as this will irritate the sensitive tissue. If soap does get in the eye, gently rinse your eye with sterile saline drops.
Giving the eye as much time to heal as possible without irritating the tissue will speed your overall recovery time. If you must apply makeup, eye shadow may be used three days after the surgery. It is important to avoid touching the eye until healing is completed.
Swimming with goggles, jogging and light sports which do not carry a risk of eye impact are allowed as early as the 2nd week after surgery. Heavy physical strain such as weight lifting must wait until the fourth week after the surgery. Any sporting activity that increases the risk of an object hitting the eye (such as ball sports) should be avoided until the eye is completely healed. Speak with your doctor about your unique needs.
We recommend using both sun and wind protection while outdoors for the first two weeks after surgery. Sunglasses are a great way to protect the eye from the elements while it heals and will often increase your comfort level.
Z-Cataract benefits from the unparalleled precision of the femtosecond laser, which can barely be reproduced in manual surgery. The laser operates with the same precision every time. Moreover, the laser system that is used for Z-Cataract employs less energy than other lasers. This means that your eye can be treated very gently. Read through the Z-Cataract section to learn more about this procedure.